The Windsor Lancers came away with the 34-17 win against York in their Week 1 tilt, and while the Lions earned the edge in the passing game, it was Windsor's ground attack, led by an explosive effort from Jacob Savoni, that ultimately earned them the season opening victory.
Savoni tormented the opposing defence all night long, refusing to settle for short runs. In fact, the second-year back scampered for an average of 12.9 yards per carry on the day, racking up 179 yards on just 14 carries. Not only was the quantity there, but the quality as well, as Savoni turned three of his runs into points for the blue and gold.
The first major of the night came with just one minute to play in the opening quarter, when he rumbled in for a six-yard score to give Windsor their first lead of the game. His encore came in the third quarter, wherein he opened the second half scoring with a two-yard tally. He rounded out his three-touchdown day with his longest run of the night, as his 86-yard touchdown all but put the game out of reach and secured the Lancers the early season win.
Congrats to Jacob Savoni and Carson Ouellette for being name Athletes of the Week. Great Work
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Another dominating performance by the defence paved the way for the Essex Ravens to claim the team’s first Ontario Provincial Football League title.
Essex’s defence held the Ottawa Sooners’ offence to two field goals as the Ravens secured a 25-6 win in Saturday’s premier varsity championship game at TD Waterhouse Stadium in London.
“We’ve been playing with the same core of group of guys for long time,” Ravens linebacker Zack Argent said. “I always felt we had potential and this year we just all put it together. We were all like brothers. We had such a bond.”
After a season-opening loss in London to the two-time league champion Junior Mustangs, the Ravens reeled of 10-straight wins en route to the title.
“I just think there was a focus and commitment to winning a championship,” Ravens’ head coach Glen Mills said. “They were incredibly focused on what needed to be done and they never complained. They just came to practice, worked and got it done.”
Ottawa used an early turnover to take a 3-0 lead, but the Ravens pulled even at halftime on a 32-yard field goal by Griffen Fenton.
“I think it was nerves,” Ravens wide receiver Vyshonne Janusas said of the team’s early struggles on offence. “We got the first half out of the way, calmed down and realized it’s just another game and shouldn’t look at it any differently than any other game.”
Essex took its first possession of the second half to the end zone with Dante Daniels pulling in a 13-yard slat from Emmitt Rosati for a touchdown that Fenton converted to put the Ravens up 10-3.
“I was telling everyone, at halftime ‘Hey, I have faith in our offence and they’re going to turn it on, score again and trust me, we’re going to win,’” said the 18-year-old Argent, who is headed to the University of Windsor. “They’re not going to score on our defence. We have faith in them and they have faith in us.”
Ottawa did use another turnover to pull to within 10-6 after three quarters, but got not closer.
“Our defence really stepped up,” the 18-year-old Janusas said. “It means a lot for me because I haven’t had a championship in football in six years. I didn’t win one in high school (at Herman). No matter what sport play or where you are, winning is a confidence booster and humbles you and make you want to work. It was a blast.”
Tai Colquhoun scored on a seven-yard run and Aiden Mitrevski scored on a one-yard run with Fenton converting both and adding a single to close the scoring as Essex claimed its fifth title in franchise history and first since 2015.
“It means a lot,” Argent said. “I’ve been in a couple of championships. I’ve been playing since Grade 6 or 7 and been to a couple and lost. This might be my last year and it’s great to finish on high note.
“Usually the underdog is a preferred role, but I really feel this team was different. We had a sense of confidence, but not cockiness. We knew what we were capable of.”
The Essex Ravens are excited to welcome back Coach Joe D'Amore to the varsity coaching staff. Coach D'Amore will fill the role of Offensive Co Ordinator. Last time Coach D'Amore was with the Varsity Ravens (2010) they won a championship.
Linebacker Zack Argent has committed to the University of Windsor Lancers. Congrats Zack.
Congratulations to Jaxon Morkin who recently committed to play his university football for the Windsor Lancers.
With an MIAA-record 26 field goals this season, along with an FHSU-record 114 points scored, Dante Brown is the MIAA Special Teams Player of the Year.
Congratulations to the Following Essex Ravens who made the 54 man roster. We had 9 Ravens make the list. Good Luck moving forward. Bring home the Gold in Calgary.
James Hanlon LB
Ethan Mackinnon WR
Zack Argent LB
Jaxon Morkin OL
Bret Macdougall DB
Brendyn Fountain OL
Cam Creechan K/P
Devin Veresuk DL
Dominic Price OL
Extremely Proud. Represent the Essex Ravens with Class.#compete
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